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Pi Lambda Phi
The official coat of arms of Pi Lambda Phi
Founded 1895
Yale University
Type Social
Scope International
Motto Nostros Amemus
Not Four Years But a Lifetime
Colors purple and gold
Flower Woodbine
Chapters 35 active in the United States and Canada
3 active colonies
Founders Frederick Manfred Werner
Louis Samter Levy
Henry Mark Fisher
Headquarters 36 Mill Plain Rd, Ste 309
Danbury, Connecticut, USA

Pi Lambda Phi (ΠΛΦ or Pi Lam) is a college social fraternity founded by Frederick Manfred Werner, Louis Samter Levy, and Henry Mark Fisher at Yale University in 1895. It was founded as the first non-sectarian fraternity, "a fraternity in which all men were brothers, no matter what their religion; a fraternity in which ability, open-mindedness, farsightedness, and a progressive, forward-looking attitude would be recognized as the basic attributes."[1] It currently boasts 35 chapters and four colonies in the United States and one chapter in Canada. The fraternity founded the Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity Educational Foundation[2] and sponsors the March of Dimes as its national benefactor.



Pi Lambda Phi was founded in 1895 by three German Jewish students at Yale University who disliked the religious and racial limits of other fraternities. Chapters at other universities started soon after. While non-sectarian, it was predominately Jewish until the end of World War Two.[3]


"Joining a fraternity means nothing. But when you have really worked for it, sweated for it, cursed it, and loved it, as well as the men in it, you have something."

Brother Alfred "Koko" Kovner, PA Alpha Delta, Temple University '42


The official philanthropy of Pi Lambda Phi is the March of Dimes.[4]

The Pi Lambda Phi Educational Foundation [2] was founded in 1938 to provide educational scholarships for the brothers of the fraternity. It was reorganized as the Pi Lambda Phi Educational Foundation in 1992. In addition to providing scholarship and educational programs, the foundation provides recognition of humanitarian work for individuals outside of the fraternity through it’s sponsorship of the Pi Lambda Phi Humanitarian Award. . In additions to the educational foundation, Pi Lambda Phi recognizes The March of Dimes, [3] as a philanthropic enterprise supported by efforts of its undergraduate members..

The Creed of Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity

  • That all Men are created Free and Equal.
  • That no Society of Men can flourish unless Members of that Society are endowed with the Opportunities and Privileges of Freedom.
  • That Freedom implies the Elimination of Prejudice – That the Elimination of Prejudice means a Better Understanding 'twixt Men.
  • That it is incumbent upon me to fight for such Freedom even with my Life.
  • That it is incumbent upon me in my Personal Life to be devoted to the Highest Standards of Honesty and Justice.
  • That because my Country is dedicated to the Highest Standards of Freedom and Justice for all Men of all Creeds, I hereby pledge Allegiance to my Country, and to its National Symbol.

List of Pi Lambda Phi brothers

Listed below are notable Pi Lambda Phi men.


Sports & Athletics

Name Original Chapter Notability Reference
Harrison Dillard OH Beta Tau American 1948 Summer Olympics & 1952 Summer Olympics Gold Medalist, Scout for the Cleveland Indians [5]
Artis Gilmore FL Delta Tau Former ABA and NBA star. He was an eleven-time All-Star, the ABA Rookie of the Year, and an ABA MVP, and he remains the NBA career leader for field goal percentage and the top player in rebounds per game in the history of NCAA Division I basketball. [5]
Randy Grossman PA Alpha Delta Former NFL tight end played for eight seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers and earned a Super Bowl Ring in Super Bowls IV, X, XIII and XIV. [5]
Jimmy Johnson CA Upsilon NFL cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers. Enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994. He played both offense and defense as a NCAA Division I college football player at UCLA. [5]
Rafer Johnson CA Upsilon American 1956 Summer Olympics & 1960 Summer Olympics Decathlon Gold Medalist, helped wrestle Sirhan Sirhan to the floor immediately after Sirhan assassinated John F. Kennedy [6][7]
Sandy Koufax OH Mu Pitcher Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1955-1966, inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 [5]
Rudy LaRusso NH Pi 5-time National Basketball Association All-Star for the Minneapolis Lakers. [5]
Leigh Steinberg CA Tau Sports agent and well-known sports attorney. Steinberg is often credited as the real life inspiration of the sports agent from the film Jerry Maguire. [5]

Arts & Entertainment


Name Original Chapter Notability Reference
Budd Schulberg NH Pi American screenwriter, television producer, novelist and sports writer. He wrote What Makes Sammy Run?, The Harder They Fall, and the 1954 Academy-award-winning screenplay for On the Waterfront. He was also a sports writer and former chief boxing correspondent for Sports Illustrated and was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his contributions to the sport. [5]
Howard Strauss MA Theta Author of Dr. Max Gerson: Healing the Hopeless [5]
Jeffrey Zaslow PA Beta Zeta American journalist and a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is the coauthor of The Last Lecture with Randy Pausch and Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters with Chesley Sullenberger and the author of The Girls from Ames. While working at the Chicago Sun-Times, he received the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award. Zaslow was honored for using his column to run programs that benefited 47,000 disadvantaged Chicago children. [5]

Film & Television

Name Original Chapter Notability Reference
Norm Abram MA Kappa Nu American carpenter, PBS shows, This Old House & The New Yankee Workshop [5]
Lewis Black NC Omega Beta American stand-up comedian, author, playwright and actor. He hosted Comedy Central's Root of All Evil and is the author of Me of Little Faith [5]
Howard Cosell NY Gamma American sports journalist ABC Monday Night Football [5]
Kevin James NY Kappa Gamma American comedian, actor, writer and producer, lead character on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens [8]
Stanley Kramer NY Gamma Oscar Award nominated American film director and producer, Inherit The Wind, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, winner Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award [5]
Albert Lewin NY Gamma American film director, producer, and screenwriter. Lewin was appointed head of the MGM studio's script department and by the late 20s was Irving Thalberg's personal assistant and closest associate. Notable producing credits during this period include True Confession (1937), Spawn of the North (1938), Zaza (1939) and So Ends Our Night (1941).In the early 1940s, he formed an independent production company with David Loew and Stanley Kramer. [9]
David Loew NY Gamma American film producer. He and his brother Arthur Loew were the twin sons of MGM founder Marcus Loew.[1] After being elected to the board of directors of Loew's, Inc., in 1922, he resigned from the studio in 1935 to launch an independent production career. In the early 1940s, he formed an independent production company with Albert Lewin and Stanley Kramer. [10]
Michael Mann WI Omega Academy Award nominated & Emmy Award winning American film director, screenwriter, and producer,The Last of the Mohicans, The Aviator [5]

Composers & Musicians

Name Original Chapter Notability Reference
Oscar Hammerstein II NY Alpha American Oscar Award and Tony Award winning songwriter, theater producer. Works include Oklahoma!, Sound of Music, South Pacific (musical) and The King and I [5]
Enoch Light MD Rho Classical violinist, bandleader, & recording engineer. Credited with being one of the first musicians to create high-quality recordings & stereo effects in the 1950s & early 1960s [11][5]
Richard Rodgers NY Alpha American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. One of only two persons to have won an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy, a Tony Award, and a Pulitzer Prize. Works include Oklahoma!, Sound of Music, South Pacific (musical) and The King and I [5]


Name Original Chapter Notability Reference
Joseph Weil MD Rho Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Florida from 1937 to 1963. He joined the University of Florida's faculty in 1921 as an instructor of physics and electrical engineering and later became head of the Dept. of Electrical Engineering. He retired from the faculty in 1966 and became provost for the New York Institute of Technology. [12]

Heads of Organizations and Business Executives

Name Original Chapter Notability Reference
Marc Cuban PA Gamma Sigma Founded Audionet (later became, current owner Dallas Mavericks [5]
Jack Dreyfus PA Lambda American financial expert and the founder of the Dreyfus Funds. He is widely publicized for being the man who "invented" the commonplace mutual fund through direct marketing to the public. [5]
Nelson L. Goldberg PA Omega Gamma Telecommunications pioneer, developed first cable system acquired by Comcast, NFL Agent [5]
Spyros Polemis NJ Theta International business leader who has spent more than 45 years as a prominent figure in the global shipping industry. He is chairman and managing director of Seacrest Shipping Co. Ltd., the London representative of a large group of shipping interests with a history of more than 200 years in the business. He is chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping and serves on the Stevens Institute of Technology Board of Trustees. [13]
Allan "Bud" Selig WI Omega Current Commissioner of Major League Baseball [5]

Judges & Attorneys

Name Original Chapter Notability Reference
Edward R. Becker PA Epsilon Zeta United States federal judge on the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit nominated by President Ronald Reagan [14]
John L. Braxton PA Omega Gamma In 1978, District Attorney Ed Rendell appointed John Braxton to be the Chief of the Municipal Court Unit of the Office of the District Attorney of Philadelphia. In 1981, Judge Braxton was appointed by Governor Richard Thornburg to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. He was later elected to a full ten year term, and was retained in 1991. He served on the Court until September 1995 when he resigned to run for Congress. Former chair, Judicial Council, National Bar Association [15][16]
Arthur Garfield Hays NY Alpha Former General Counsel American Civil Liberties Union, Notable cases - Scopes Trial, Scottsboro Case, Reichstag Trial [5]

Political Figures

Non-elected Officials

Name Original Chapter Notability Reference
Mortimer Caplin VA Omega Alpha American lawyer and educator appointed U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Recipient of the Alexander Hamilton Award, the highest award conferred by the Secretary of the Treasury for his "distinguished leadership”. [17][18][5]
Albert Tieberg CA Tau A 30-year California civil servant and Dir. of the California Department of Employment (1962-1968) under Governor Pat Brown. An early proponent of minority hiring, he was widely regarded as the most innovative manpower administrator in the nation. He inaugurated the first Manpower Training Skills Centers in the nation in Watts and Oakland; started the first multiservice center to be operated by any state employment service; and developed the first Minority Employment Program, hiring a minority employment representative in all 47 of the state's employment offices. [19]
David Temple VA Omega Alpha Educator and civil servant. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Program Operations at the Commerce Department and Recipient of the Department of Commerce Silver Medal as well as Vice President Al Gore’s Hammer Award for outstanding leadership and contributions in government reinvention. Former Virginia Deputy Secretary of Education. He was the first African-American initiated into an NIC fraternity at the University of Virginia. [20][21][22]

U.S. Politicians

Name Original Chapter Notability Reference
Ben Cardin PA Gamma Sigma Current U.S. Senator (D), Maryland [5]
Eliot Engel NY Beta Current U.S. Representative (D), 17th District, New York [5]
Herbert Kohl WI Omega Current U.S. Senator (D), Wisconsin, owner Milwaukee Bucks (NBA) [5]
Ed Rendell PA Epsilon Zeta Current Governor of Pennsylvania (D). Served as General Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 presidential election. [5]
Arlen Specter PA Epsilon Zeta Current U.S. Senator (D), Pennsylvania. In 2006 he was selected by Time as one of America's Ten best Senators. [5][23]
Sidney R. Yates IL Omicron Former U.S. Representative (D), 9th District, Illinois, from 1949-1963 & 1963-1999. Presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton in 1993. [5]

World Leaders

Name Original Chapter Notability Reference
Peter Bercovitch CN Eta Canadian provincial and federal politician served in the Legislative Assembly of Quebec from 1919-1938 and acclaimed to the Canadian House of Commons in 1938 and served until his death in office in late 1942. He was created a King's Counsel in 1911. [5]
David Croll CN Tau Alpha Former member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Mayor of Windsor, Ontario and became Canada's first Jewish cabinet minister when he became Minister of Public Welfare. Canadian House of Commons from 1945-1955 and appointed to the Canadian Senate in 1955, becoming Canada's first Jewish senator. [5]


Name Original Chapter Notability Reference
Eric Brewer CA Tau Main inventor of a wireless networking scheme called WiLDNet. He also was made a tenured professor at UC Berkeley at the age of 32. In 1996, Brewer co-founded Inktomi Corporation. He is known for promoting the CAP Theorem about distributed network applications. [5]
Richard P. Feynman MA Theta 1965 Nobel Prize for Physics, Father of Quantum Mechanics [24]



  1. ^ The Founders' Period History of the Fraternity
  2. ^ Educational Foundation Pi Lambda Phi Educational Foundation, Inc.
  3. ^ Sanua, Marianne Rachel (2003). ""Oh Yes, That Nonsectarian Jewish Fraternity": The Search for Identity 1895–1906" (Google Book Search). Going Greek: Jewish college fraternities in the United States, 1895-1945. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. pp. 49–50. LCCN 2002-007160. ISBN 9780814328576. OCLC 49799380.,M1. Retrieved May 19, 2009.  
  4. ^ Pi Lambda Phi Partners with the March of Dimes official philanthropy March 2006
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Membership Directory, 2010, Pi Lambda Phi Inc.
  6. ^ Encyclopedia of World Biography. Vol. 21. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2004. p225-227.
  7. ^ Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Thematic Series: The 1960s. Ed. William L. O'Neill and Kenneth T. Jackson. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003. p502-504.
  8. ^ Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. Ed. Thomas Riggs. Vol. 93. Detroit: Gale, 2009. p128-131.
  9. ^ Bacher, L.. "David L. Loew, Renoir's "French Method", and The Southerner. " Film History 21.3 (2009): 229-256
  10. ^ Bacher, L.. "David L. Loew, Renoir's "French Method", and The Southerner. " Film History 21.3 (2009): 229-256
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 149, No. 5 (May, 2001), pp. 1237-1255
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ A Man of Purpose: Professor, lawyer, soldier, scholar - Mort Caplin Makes It His Business to Serve, Washington Business Journal (August 15-21, 2003)
  18. ^ The Legacy of Mortimer Caplin '40, Virginia Law Weekly (February 4, 2000)
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Flash Video Player required
  23. ^ "Arlen Specter: The Contrarian". TIME magazine. April 14, 2006.,8599,1183946,00.html.  
  24. ^ Major 21st-Century Writers. Ed. Tracey Matthews and Tracey Watson. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2005.

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